The Four Seasons in Limassol, Cyprus has been open since 1993 and is independently owned and operated by Muskita Hotels Ltd. It’s a Five Star deluxe property with 304 rooms, 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and extensive conference facilities, Shiseido Spa, a full range of sports and fitness facilities and a shopping area with exclusive boutiques, watches and jewelry. The Hotel is situated on its own sandy beach, which has been awarded with the Blue Flag (a symbol of cleanliness and safety awarded by the European Community) and is 8 kilometers East of Limassol city center.
The Four Seasons’ management is constantly looking for effective ways to build strong relations with its customers and optimize sales programs. The Hotel’s website is its important marketing tool that helps the property to attract and retain elite guests from all over the World.
Mr. Nick Aristou, the property’s Executive Director, decided to enhance the website with an online business chat solution. “Our objective was to make it easy for our customers to navigate the website,” says Mr. Aristou. “Also, we wanted to convert as many visitors into customers as possible by making it easy for them to complete bookings.”
Mr. Aristou, who has a strong technology background, did a thorough review of available products, including such market leaders as LivePerson. However, none of them matched Four Season’s specific needs. The main limitations were the lack of multilingual support, patchy compatibility with tablet users and absence of robust archival features.
Then Mr. Aristou came across LiveWebAssist, a chat solution deployed on the IceWarp site, and realized it was the perfect match. He decided to try it out on the Four Season’s site, but then found out it was not the final release yet. Still, Mr. Aristou went ahead and launched LiveWebAssist at Four Seasons’ webpage, assigning three operators to interact with customers.
From the very beginning, the Four Season’s customer service team was making the most of LiveWebAssist’s multilingual interface and Knowledgebase support features to interact with customers in English, Greek and Russian.. The property’s sales and marketing team started to see LiveWebAssist’s effect almost immediately – the bookings increased.
“LiveWebAssist contributed a lot to this on many occasions,” says Mr. Aristou. “Our analysis showed that customers booked because they were given real-time explanations through the chat service.”
Four Season’s technology team also liked LiveWebAssist’s capability to recognize returning Website visitors.
“The excellent feature helps an operator to resume the conversation from the same spot where it was ended or interrupted,” says Mr. Aristou. “That makes users spend on average 7-8 minutes on the site, a very high indicator.”
In an approach radically different form other chat products, LiveWebAsisst supports the InLine no-flash chat architecture, eliminating pop-up windows. This design allows more visitors to initiate chat sessions, because they don’t have to deal with popup blockers and assures usability for visitors from tablets like iPad or Android.
Additionally, this option gives actionable information about the visitors’ behavior.
“The operators can tell exactly where the user is on the site, so they can offer them immediate assistance, tell them where to go and answer questions with a high degree of relevancy,” says Mr. Aristou. “It’s a very useful feature.”
LiveWebAssist’s analytical capabilities helped the hotel to optimize its Internet marketing strategy.
“LiveWebAssist analytics capabilities are very good,” notes Mr. Aristou. “They are helping us to locate sources our customers are coming from. It’s a very effective tool, especially when used in conjunction with Google analytics.”
Another feature Four Seasons’ team found practical is LiveWebAssist Knowledgebase. At any point of the conversation, it allows to insert pre-approved messages (such as terms and conditions, cancellation policy, etc.) as well as URLs and graphics with a single click.
“It has been very useful, we have almost three pages of knowledgebase content now,” notes Mr. Aristou. “The option provides more professional outlook and helps to standardize responses. Operators don’t have to think about how to phrase them. In the near future, we are planning to extend the knowledgebase with images and, possibly, videos.”
According to Four Seasons’ technology team estimates, the training and ramp-up process was painless.
“The functionality of the program is simple, anybody who can use a social chat program can get accustomed to LiveWebAssist very easily,” notes Mr. Aristou.
For the support function, Four Seasons team used LiveWebAssist Direct Chat Technology, the VIP connection that gives dedicated access to key IceWarp support personnel. This option makes it possible to reach the important contacts no matter where they are – at their desktop, off-site, or on the road.
“The VIP link option has been very useful, and IceWarp support team was very prompt,” says Mr. Aristou.
Four Seasons is now planning to expand LiveWebAssist functionality.
“We are considered using it on mobile devices, and, possibly, integrating the solution with a new CRM system,” says Mr. Aristou.
In the future, the property is thinking about hiring more operators and starting to use LiveWebAssist automated translation functionality.
According to Mr. Aristou’s estimates, LiveWebAssist was showing compelling ROI from the day it was implemented.
“Just from my own observation, from the number of bookings that have been converted directly through LiveWebAssist, I can say that it has paid for itself almost immediately” says Mr. Aristou he would definitely recommend LiveWebAssist to other organizations in the hospitality industry.
“Selling hotel rooms is always a complex matter,” says Mr. Aristou. “Usually, hotel bookings for five+ star hotels are a very high-value item. It’s not a $10-20 purchase from Amazon. They are usually $5,000-6,000 per transactionand there are many issues for potential customers to understand before they actually commit to book. Anything that can give a customer greater confidence and prompt him to make a decision to buy is very valuable. LiveWebAssist gives us exactly that.”
Online retailer Mighty Ape beat out big chain stores like Dick Smiths to be ranked at the most recommended home appliance store. A retail expert says it's no surprise independent retailers beat out many of their big box rivals in an opinion survey by Consumer New Zealand.
The consumer magazine conducted a survey of 10,000 of its members to rank their experiences in four types of retail store - hardware and DIY, bedding and furniture, carpet and flooring, and home appliances and technology. Forty-five brands were involved. Online retailer Mighty Ape and independents Heathcote Appliances and 100 Per Cent Appliances ranked highly, leaving behind JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith.
Chris Wilkinson, of First Retail NZ, said Consumer's research reflected a growing trend in retail which placed high importance on shoppers' experiences. "The reason the smaller businesses like Heathcotes have done well is because they have a much strong engagement with their market and essentially are at the heart of their communities - and consumers recognise this."
Cathay Pacific Airways has marked another important milestone for the airline as it unveiled a new livery that will be progressively introduced onto all the aircraft in its fleet. The livery was showcased on one of the airline's Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at a special event held at Hong Kong International Airport.
Ivan Chu, chief executive, Cathay Pacific said, "Today represents the beginning of a new era for Cathay Pacific. We are very happy and proud to unveil our new aircraft livery which represents our journey into the future and also celebrates the many great things we have achieved over the past seven decades as the home carrier of Hong Kong."
The update to the livery is part of a series of ongoing improvements to Cathay Pacific's customer experience. These include not only the new livery, but also the website and mobile app, as well as major enhancements to the airline's airport lounges in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok and beyond.
NewVoiceMedia, a global provider of cloud technology which helps businesses sell more, serve better and grow faster, today announced that Ritani, a leading online retailer of engagement rings, diamonds and fine jewellery, is using its ContactWorld solution to deliver unparalleled service to its customers, pushing it ahead of competitors and raising its conversion rates by 30 percent.
As a luxury brand, Ritani prides itself on being able to offer its customers exceptional support. That means no waiting times and immediate, personalised attention for every customer who contacts the company. It also means using the most innovative technology to offer the best and easiest experience to customers.
“Most of the jewellery industry hasn’t been quick to adopt innovation, and we believe that’s a major oversight”, said Simon Tam, CTO of Ritani. “Today’s consumers are used to services being quick, easy and universally accessible. With that in mind, we’ve focused on serving our customers exactly the way they want to be served. The best way to do so is by adopting technology that supports an effortless, personalised experience, which is what NewVoiceMedia delivers”.
“Ritani is really disrupting the jewellery industry because it’s applied the latest technology innovations to an industry that’s steeped in tradition and made it better”, said NewVoiceMedia CEO Jonathan Gale. “And because it’s serving customers who are much more emotionally invested in their purchases than the average buyer, the stakes are far higher than for other vendors. We’re delighted that ContactWorld has enabled the company to take such a successful approach”.
Ritani has deployed a unique clicks and brick experience by allowing visitors to its site to design a custom engagement ring and choose to either ship it directly to their home or office, or to an independently owned local jeweller in their area for a ‘free in-store preview’. This provides customers with the ultimate assurance that they are purchasing the perfect ring for their betrothed. The company is equally accommodating through all means of contact with its non-commissioned support staff; be it via online chat, email, or toll-free number, Ritani’s aim is to provide a superior experience for an exceptional product.
“When people are buying diamond rings, it’s usually one of the most important purchases of their lives”, Tam said. “They deserve to have every detail perfect, and if they have questions, they deserve immediate answers. Thanks to ContactWorld’s integration with Salesforce, NewVoiceMedia ensures we deliver what our customers expect every single time”.
Ritani also uses the technology to inform the way it structures its service organisation. The company uses the reporting feature to understand market trends and track activities through both its call centres and website, making it easier to identify correlations between the two and concentrate resources where they’re needed.